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23 August, 2019
 
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Greece was right to question German airport checks

Athens said effective suspension of the Schengen Agreement was linked to German domestic politics

Kathimerini Greece Newsroom

Only one in every 1,000 passengers travelling from Greece was denied entry to Germany during airport security screening between November 2017 and February, according to recent data seen by Kathimerini.

Officials in Athens say that the figures support the argument that the effective suspension at German airports of the Schengen Agreement, which allows free movement within the European Union, was linked to domestic political concerns amid talks to form Germany’s next government.

According to data provided by the Greek Police, over the same period German authorities checked 280,000 passengers travelling from Greece. Of these, only 270 were denied entry to the country. Of those 270, 35 were found to be in possession of fake travel documents, none of which were Greek. Another 150 cases involved citizens from third countries (mostly Albanians and Syrians).

According to the same data, German authorities granted temporary residence permits to 120 individuals, so that they could apply for asylum.

The same sources told Kathimerini that in the first two months of 2018, German authorities refused entry to 7,500 people at the country’s airports. They also reported about 2,000 cases of illegal residence. Of those, only 44 had arrived in Germany via Greece. Only 13-15 percent of those 44 cases concerned bogus travel documents.

Pressure on Germany’s borders – particularly Bavaria – is reportedly strong. Recently, a total of 300 people were recorded crossing the border illegally in a single day, only one of whom had travelled through Greece.

Officials in Athens say the data vindicate Greece’s reaction to German checks on flights from Greek airports.

France, Austria, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway have temporarily reintroduced border controls after November 2017. Most of these restrictions are to be lifted in May.

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